Minnesota Safety Net Clinic Receives $25,000 Grant

Dentistry Today


The Medica Foundation has awarded a $25,000 grant to Community Dental Care, a Minnesota nonprofit safety net dental clinic. With the clinic’s newest expansion in Rochester, the funding will support its Program to Improve Community Oral Health (PICOH), which provides oral health education, risk assessment, and preventive services for diverse, low-income children and pregnant women through in-clinic, outreach, school-based sealant, and the Minnesota Cavity Free Kids pilot program. 

According to Community Dental Care, PICOH is grounded in evidence-based practices and has received national recognition. In 2012, it was chosen by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and ICF International as one of 12 promising models nationwide for increasing oral health access for children. In the spring of 2017, PICOH and Community Dental Care received the Henry Schein Cares Gold Medal Award for demonstrating excellence in expanding access to care for the underserved in oral health.

PICOH served 14,013 children, 1,399 parents, and 304 pregnant women throughout the Twin Cities Metro area in 2016. Grant funding from the Medica Foundation will increase the number of children and pregnant women served through the program at the Rochester facility, serving the Southeastern region of Minnesota.

“We are incredibly grateful to the Medica Foundation for their generosity in supporting early dental disease prevention for infants, toddlers, and pregnant mothers,” said Vacharee Peterson, DDS, chief executive officer of Community Dental Care. “It is our deepest desire for every child born to be cavity free. With the help of the parents, the providers, and the community, we can achieve this goal together.”

“We understand that oral health is an important part of overall health,” said JoAnn Birkholz, director of the Medica Foundation. “The Medica Foundation is delighted to provide funding to this important initiative that improves access to quality dental care.”

The Medica Foundation awarded about $1.2 million in grants to nonprofit organizations throughout its service area, reaching about 168,000 people in 2017. Its funding priorities include behavioral health, early childhood health, and general health improvement. In regional and rural communities, it also focused on nonprofit core mission support.

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